Beauty in Absurdity: Fet.Nat at Mercury Lounge


Seldom is it that a room fills up with people buzzing for a one-band bill, but Fet.Nat seems exceptional in a few ways. By virtue of their sole occupation of the bill this evening, I thought (and hoped) they’d play for at least an hour, but the group clocked out around the 45 minute mark, and I wasn’t even mad. I couldn’t be. When a band moves your feet and wrinkles your brain the way they do, side effects may include euphoria, awe and mild confusion.

Maintaining elements of free-jazz and a punk-spirited beat-poetry, there is a confidence in their disregard for the conventional. Fet.Nat are blazing a trail that not only challenges listeners, but defies anyone who tries to label them. Whenever I talk about this band, I’m never sure how to describe them except that they are maybe the most interesting band in town.

There’s a certain absurdity to their sound, and the challenge of “getting it” is often taken seriously, but it simultaneously taunts and teases us. In the crowd, there was a divide between those dancing and those fixed in place, staring in awe and slight confusion at what was unfolding in front of them. So those aforementioned side effects are now in full effect.

Experiencing this band almost requires one to suspend that inherent human compulsion to categorize and understand everything, because this band cannot be put in a box.

The way the music defies genre labels and conventional structure is further exemplified by the way that most vocal hooks were programmed into a small sampler that the guitarist and saxophonist shared. Shows are a dime a dozen where the singer gets right in the crowd’s faces to get everyone singing along, and while there was some encouragement from the band in this regard, I enjoyed the subversion of that dynamic, thwarting that expectation, even for anyone familiar with their music.

No matter if someone was dancing or standing still, the crowd erupted with hoots and cheers after every song. It was over before we knew it, and we were left with a titillating feeling of adventurousness, and hungry for more. Sorry, Fet.Nat, but there is something beautiful about you, and even though you asked so nicely, I won’t stop saying it.

Don’t sleep on your next chance to see this band.

Fet.Nat’s new record Please Stop Saying It’s So Beautiful is available now through E-Tron Records. Get some.


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